Friday, September 13, 2013

TV-less Bliss

     Some of the best, most exclusive hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals in the world are TV-less.  And they are pure bliss.  How do I, who've never been, know?  Because our home has been TV-less for the past five years and it's been one of the most blissful changes in our lives.
     It didn't used to always be that way.  We'd flip it on in the morning or when we got home and it'd stay on till we went to bed at night.  It was the hog that sucked our attentions, causing us to zero-out those around us.  “Shush.”  “Quiet, I'm watching,” we'd say with an urgent point toward the set.
     The beginning of the end started when my oldest child was in first grade.  One day, out of the blue, he said, “Why don't we not watch TV anymore?” the set blaring in the background.
     “O.K,” I said, already disillusioned by the blood-sucking, mind-numbing medium to which our lives had become captive.  And I switched the thing off.
     Then, the strangest thing happened.  A part of me revolted and silently screamed, “Turn it on!  Turn it on!”  I had never had such an urgent craving over such a ridiculous thing since who knows when.  But I put the remote down, somewhat disturbed by the odd craving, then picked up something to read, instead.  The craving immediately subsided, and the TV remained off that day, and part of the next.  Gradually over the coming weeks and months, TV resumed its presence in our lives, but much more selectively than before, perhaps down from forty-plus to twenty-something hours per week, my wife doing most of the viewing.
     Then, a year later came the bedbugs.  My daughter brought them home from her co-op type pre-school.  Our friends who had earlier had them said they were worse than the scourges of Egypt because at least you can see locusts, whereas bedbugs hide in credit-card thin cracks in furniture, carpeting, clothes, floorboards, etc.
     In response, we exercised the nuclear option.  We quarantined the bedroom, washed and bagged all clothes and bedding within the room, wiped down and sun-dried the mattress, sprayed with insecticide her and big brother's bunk bed frame and nearby wall crevices, petroleum jellied the legs of the room's wood furniture, and every evening for two months sometime between midnight and two a.m., crept into the eerie blacked-out room with flashlight to inspect for remnant nasty critters.
     My wife consulted an exterminator who warned they even crawled from one room to the next via shared power outlet receptacles.  I opened these, and finding a dead bed bug in one of them, sprayed them all down.
     The kids' room shared a common wall with our family room.  One of this wall's multi-room power outlet receptacles was that into which we had plugged our sole TV in the family room.  I asked my wife, “Is it OK if I tape over this wall outlet?  It'll mean no more TV, though.  It's up to you.” 
     She said, “Go ahead.”
     “Yes,” I silently rejoiced.
     My boy's grades instantly improved from C’s and B’s to B's and A's.  Our tempers flared far less frequently.  And we spent far more time reading and talking.
     During visits to relatives or stays at hotels, I sometimes flip through the plethora of channels, my heart rate accelerating in eager anticipation of seeing some of the good stuff I had been missing.  It doesn't take long for the mindless blather and hyper-kinetic images to create a dull, achey sensation toward the back of my head, my neck stiffening, me feel blah all over.
     Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed TV just as much as the next fella.  TV is not the root of all evil—it's just another communication devise like radio, internet, or print media.  But for me, at this stage in life, doing without has been pure bliss and I don't miss it a bit.
     For those intrigued, give it a try sometime, perhaps just as an experiment for a day or two.  Notice the before and after effects—they're sure to be stark.  And also notice the effects after switching it back on.
     And by the way, we had a milder case of bedbugs with no real recurrence after our first main spraying.  Talk about a blessing in disguise!


No comments:

Post a Comment